Mounting Evidence that BirthorNot.com is an Anti-Choice Stunt

A Minnesota-based couple has jumped on the relying-on-Internet-voting-to-make-major-life-decisions-for-publicity bandwagon. Greg and Alisha Arnold created the website birthornot.com to have others help them decide whether they should give birth to their now 17-week-old fetus, or to have an abortion. The polls close on December 7, giving her two days to have an abortion, if they decide to, before she reaches 20 weeks and cannot have an abortion.

Gawker has spoken with the couple and they claim they are not conducting a crazy pro-life (anti-choice) stunt because Alisha supports a woman’s right to choose. But evidence against that point is mounting. At face value the ultrasounds and pictures on the site are a suspiciously common visual used by anti-choice advocates. It is also being reported that the husband is a vocal anti-choicer based on his past involvement as blogger and producer for sites such as “Always Right, Always Correct” and “Race to the Right.”

According to their site, the couple’s decision to take this private and important decision to the Internet is as follows:

We would like to keep you informed on our pregnancy as if it was your own; posting our thoughts and feelings as we struggle to make this decision.  We would like you to see what we see and feel what we feel.  We invite you take this journey with us as we contemplate our own options and encourage you to utilize this site to vote and voice your opinion in a way that will have a real consequence… in a way that truly matters.  Here, your vote will not go unheard.

The couple bought the birthornot.com domain earlier this year during Alisha’s second pregnancy which ended in a miscarriage (as did the first). But with this healthy pregnancy, they decided to launch the site and get feedback from the interwebs on how they should deal with it. Why they would want to leave it up to strangers to decide whether or not to carry on with this pregnancy when they’ve had a history of miscarriages seems asinine and shady at best.

Purportedly they had some hackers break into the site and flood the comments with nude pictures and other inappropriate content. Many of the comments I read asked why they haven’t considered adoption instead of abortion, or told them that they would be horrible parents. It is still unknown how the “hacking” has affected the voting which is 54% for the abortion and 46% to have the baby. The Arnolds say that the votes they receive will strongly factor into their decision but it will ultimately be their choice. I agree with Amanda Marcotte’s prediction: they will decide to have the baby and use the opportunity to focus on the “horrors” of abortion.

It will be interesting frightening to see how this plays out. But as Jezebel reported in their interview, the wife, Alisha, seems to already feel remorseful for all of the attention they are receiving. It appears that Pete is the driving force behind this and is lavishing in the attention. Pretty convenient when your body isn’t being used as an anti-choice advertisement. If the goal of this stunt is to truly stimulate discussion and allow people’s voices to be heard as they claim, then I can support that. But what kind of legitimate discourse can be had when these agitators aren’t coming clean with their true motives?

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11 Comments

  1. Posted November 19, 2010 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

    I seriously question the parental fitness of anyone who leaves it up to the Internet whether or not they should carry the pregnancy to term. Their kid hasn’t even been born yet, and they are already exploiting it.

  2. Posted November 19, 2010 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

    Also, their expressed ‘shock’ that the members of the media they’d had contact with were ‘professional’ is yet another red flag about their intentions and their motives, given that it’s largely the far right that is overwhelmingly suspect of journalists.

  3. Posted November 19, 2010 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

    this makes me ashamed to live in minnesota. i live in minneapolis, the liberal mecca of the midwest, and i often forget that people like this live in this state. then again… central MN did manage to vote in michelle bachmann AGAIN…

    that said, this is disgusting. its as transparent as can be. pictures of ultrasounds, referring to the fetus as “unborn child” and “baby”, the post about how it may be a boy… these are tell tale signs that these are anti-choice believers.

    as if anyone needed more proof that the husband is a glenn beck loving ultra conservative, one of our minneapolis newspapers wrote the article below that tracks his internet insanity:

    http://blogs.citypages.com/blotter/2010/11/zeeboid_license.php

  4. Posted November 19, 2010 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

    Uhm, honestly, not to be a bitch but I think the sheer fact that they put up the site should be proof enough that it’s 1) a stunt 2) I can’t imagine anyone with genuine pro-choice motivations would turn around and put THEIR choice into the hands of complete strangers.

    I am usually all for free speech and choices, even if the statements and decisions are not ones I’d make (and woooahhh is that not one I would ever make), and obviously every woman’s abortion choice or pregnancy is her own and how or why she deals with it the way she does isn’t really any of my business……………..

    However, having had to deal with the abortion question myself (as a married women with no previous children, if that statistical fact means anything), I find it hard to believe that anyone SERIOUSLY considering either of these options would put it out there for strangers to vote on. Maybe I’m wrong, maybe other people need/desire more guidance from other people’s opinions than I do. But me, I smell something, ahem, fishy.

    • Posted November 19, 2010 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

      Ahem, more to the point is the fact that they had one unplanned pregnancy before getting married, that didn’t succeed (indicating they chose not to abort then either), and two planned pregnancies that ended in miscarriage. Who in their right mind aborts a (healthy) pregnancy when the’ve been TRYING to get pregnant? And who actually plans to leave the decision to the very last minute when the health risks are increased, if their intention is to have an abortion?

  5. Posted November 19, 2010 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

    While I don’t doubt that this is an anti-choice stunt, to me it ultimately says more about both our culture’s need for people to constantly feed their narcissism (we live in a society where people are increasingly famous not for doing anything particularly creative or skilled, but for how much of a spectacle they can make of themselves), coupled with their need to conform to the mass consensus (basing a major life decision on other people’s dictates rather than any desires or beliefs of their own)–than it does about abortion.

    Wow, that was a run-on sentence. I mean—was that a run-on sentence or what? Vote on it now!

  6. Posted November 19, 2010 at 10:05 pm | Permalink

    I just have this overwhelming urge to vote “kill the kid now, before zie gains consciousness and commits suicide!!!!”

    But that’s just me.

  7. Posted November 20, 2010 at 2:22 am | Permalink

    Just because abortion is legal in America doesn’t mean pro-life peep’s vote “hasn’t been heard.”
    You have the right to have your baby.

    If anything, I hope this shows people that bringing a women’s pregnancy up for a vote is wrong. As in, *she* should decide, not anyone else. Duh.

  8. Posted November 20, 2010 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    Of course it’s a scam. First, there is no reason given as to why they would want to abort their baby. Pro-choice is not about getting abortions for the sake of getting abortions. Which is what this site would seemingly like us all to think. Being pro-choice is about the right for parents to have a family when they are ready and willing. The fact that they would leave this decision up to the public is not pro-choice at all b/c they are still not making the choice! It’s defeating the whole point of putting the power in the hands of the parents and not allowing someone else (i.e. the church or government) to decide when is the right time to have a family. Contrary to what this couple is propogating, this poll is NOT a pro-choice/anti-choice debate. It is at best a publicity stunt and at worst a giant middle finger to pro-choice efforts.

    • Posted November 21, 2010 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

      *Facepalm* Omg I can’t believe I read their site and neglected to note the lack of reasoning why they would want to abort in the first place. Nice catch, and now I feel slow.

  9. Posted November 23, 2010 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    From their Nov.18 – “First of all, your comments are appreciated. Though there are indeed many hateful. For every ten comments that are negative or spiteful there is one that is positive enough to blow them out of the water. We have even had multiple people (accounting for approximately 6% of those who have sent us a message) who have offered to adopt if the vote result is Abort.

    Adoption is NOT a stand in for having the choice to abort a pregnancy. The fact that they also find it heartwarming rather than disturbing is also telling.

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